The Science of Animal Sentience: Refining Experimental Biology



Animal sentience is a hot topic for scientists, policy makers and the public alike. There is much discussion around the definition of sentience, which animal species may be sentient, and - very importantly - the implications of understanding and recognising animal sentience.

The topic is especially relevant to SEB members, because many are at the forefront of the science that helps to inform our understanding of animal biology, behaviour and sentience. This knowledge underpins and develops essential legislation and policies, such as national Animal Welfare Acts, laws that regulate animal experiments, and Codes of Practice for kept animals in settings such as farms and zoos. In the UK at the time of writing, legislation that would require the government to consider how all policies could affect the welfare of sentient animals is passing through Parliament.

With this in mind, the SEB and RSPCA Animals in Science Department thought it would be timely to hold a meeting on the science of animal sentience, bringing together leading experts in the field of animal cognition and sentience and enabling members to discuss, and reflect on, the implications of the science for themselves and others.

Our original plan for a face-to-face satellite meeting to SEB2020 was thwarted by lockdown, but over 100 participants from a range of different regions worldwide attended our online meeting on 21 September 2021.

Please find below the videos of the event: